As we speak there is a big argument around the EU to stop adding Best Before dates on the food products as too much of it are just thrown away for no good reason. Basically we are wasting food still edible because of four ink plots on the package.
How much on this is the fault of Food Surveillance or big firms?
I think its our own fault really. We are so obsessed having easy-to-use, no-thinking-included lifestyle that we have demanded bigger safety on everything that is actually necessary. It doesn’t mean I say we let our kids out with guns and let themselves learn it the hard way, but I don’t think we actually need all the surveillance we are putting ourselves under.
Like in yesterday’s post I rattled over being observed based on “higher moral”.
Truth is we haven’t really grown up. At least most of the modern people. If you look in the past, at the age of 18 you were already able to feed yourself, cover for yourself and you knew everything about surviving in your world. If you take modern civitas homo sapience (city smart man) and compare them on their knowledge level with their ancestors, then you realize after adding the skills together, that they are actually kids! Yes, the old folks have hard time working with computers and go nuts trying to find their way through our cities, but if you take all this modern tosh-posh away, then you get one very stupid people.
So, how do you determine if you are on better level?
Do you know by looking in the sky what weather will come next or tomorrow? Yeah, some of us did get the cloud defining at school or the simple introduction to how storms form, but is it enough to know if its going to rain in few hours or not? I wish I could do that like my great-grandmother did – one look in the sky and she said we were going to have to look the oil lamps over as it was probably going to be a stormy evening. Usually it was.
Do you know your food? Can you understand if it’s off or good to eat? On simple veggies, yes, but on anything else? Meat, poultry, potatoes, milk, eggs… I can! It wasn’t something I actually learned from school, but something I considered necessary to experiment and find out. You don’t need an expert on the side to understand this. It’s really simple. You only need to trust yourself and have the basic understanding that there are exceptions.
The basic is you just smell, touch and taste. Over time you start making difference on smells that develop both when the food ages and when you cook it. Naturally, reading about this is also necessity. Like chicken – if it concentrates oils on the skin, it’s not good anymore. If it’s only slightly oily, it is still normal as long as you don’t scent anything bad that shouldn’t be there. If it has yellow coloring – toss it out without taking smell test – it usually gets very smelly at the same time and it is basically really bad. On this eyes are the kings – if it looks off when dealing with meat, toss it out without smelling. Some of the smells are bad both in disease and both making you just sick. Some meats are better tested if you touch them. Like marinated herring (mm!). Here the taste is your best friend and your fingers. As it is already marinated, then we can’t really talk about freshness, now can we? Wrong! It’s all good as long as it doesn’t turn porridge between your fingers, the taste turns sandy and it does muddy the marinade. I am not adding the full descriptions to all the foods – just feel good with touching it, learn how it is in it’s best state and what it looks and feels and smells like while it has gone off.
EXCEPTIONS! Never smell anything that has molds on it! Any nature student knows that they have those tiny seeds that are very bad and you don’t take a smell test and breathe them into your body! There are different types of them and it’s good to learn the most common to know what to do with it – if it’s on jam, then it’s good to know if you have to toss it all out now or it’s partly edible. Usually you toss it out. If you sense alkaloids on the jams, you toss them out too. Sterilize before sealing and it should stay fine. If you can smell from far that something is off – don’t do any closer examination and just toss it out. If the vacuum packages look like balls, you toss them out.
Got an interesting letter from one visitor, who was rather put down by my view that cans aren’t the things to collect for long terms.
I have no argument on the point that food in cans can survive for very long periods and thus are good preserving way. I’d probably have cans of peaches and mushrooms and some other stuff too. My reason not to like it as the only way to support your family’s emergency back up is that cans are made of materials and are often so thin that they are easily spoilt. If you get humidity in your storage room, then half of the cans rust. Should it get hotter than usually, then the inside spoils. All you need to destroy it is small nail somewhere in the wall and some pressure – tiny hole and it spoils.
Not to mention the actual amount of food in the cans. If you drain can of peaches, you find out that the 2 pound can actually has only 1,7 pounds of peaches or the mushrooms are far less if you drain the water away.
The point of this long side-story is that we are too trusty on the sign given to us and if asked from today’s parents then most don’t know if the food is off if they don’t have dates given. I like buying my food from market if possible for reasons I’m sure I’ve already explained beforehand, but this also means I must learn to understand. I don’t trust the dates on the packages – I think mostly because in school we were often given the miss-labeled milks and yogurts by local dairy for lower fee for school lunches. There was nothing wrong with the product, they were just miss-labeled and I can’t say there went many days by without eating peach yoghurt with strawberry pictures on top. So I learned in early age that labels are pretty much untruthful.
Can you sew? Make clothing for yourself?
I can’t. And most other people can’t either. I did learn, yes and put to the task, I’ll probably get through it, but I can’t make them right here and now. I can do some stitch work, but nothing big and fancy.
Do you know how to take care for garden?
I honestly put my hand up and say no. It’s a dream of mine to have this skill, but I don’t. I remember that under carrot seeds you put some sand, but I can’t even remember when I should plant them.
Can you work with simple wood, clay to provide tools for yourself?
I have only done little stuff so far, nothing fancy or anything bigger, but I want to learn that.
If we keep up being slaves of fixed society, we’ll probably do end up in the world, where man can poison himself with off food, because they just don’t understand the difference or bleach their water to clean it… I don’t think I’ll ever get pass that survival video.